TEMPE, AZ – Manufacturing slowed in December, with the PMI dropping 3.1 percentage points to 47.7%, says the Institute for Supply Management. New orders decreased to 45.7%, down 6.9 points, while production dropped 4.6 points to 47.3%.
Inventories were down slightly to 4.5%, a decrease of 1.4 points, and customer inventories were up 2.5 points in December, to 51.5%. Order backlogs were also up, reaching 43%, an increase of 1.5 points.
“The manufacturing sector failed to grow in December ending 10 consecutive months of growth. The recent trend has been toward slower growth. However, December was apparently a very tough month as new orders, production and employment were all below the breakeven mark of 50%. Industries close to the housing market appear to be struggling more than others, and those involved in exports seem to be doing better. Slower demand appears to be more of a problem than excessive inventories based on the respondents' comments,” said ISM spokesman Norbert J. Ore.
The overall economy grew for the 74th consecutive month, says ISM.